Ballet show marks the end of an era

Pictured: Ingrid Nachstern.

Since 1997, hundreds of young girls, and a handful of boys, have learned to dance at the Ingrid Nachstern Ballet School, Sandymount.

Ingrid recently announced her decision to close the school after this year’s annual show, which took place on May 27th. Although passing on her love for classical ballet as an art form and her skills as a dancer have been central to her work for the past nineteen years, as we previously reported in NewsFour, in recent years this remarkable woman has also had significant success with her ventures into choreography and dance film production. She is now looking forward to having more time to focus on that part of her career, as well as to perform and to travel.

Ingrid spoke to NewsFour about her decision to close the school and her plans for the future and said: “It really has been a pleasure and a privilege to teach all of the children that I’ve taught over the years and I’d like to thank the parents for their support, because you can’t really run a school without the backup of the parents.

“I have lovely memories of the children over the years and I will miss working with them. Ballet gives children musicality, it gives them an appreciation of this magical art form, and they learn to work in a group.

“In this computer-dominated age, they have something that they can put something of themselves into – they are actively doing something, in class, or working towards an exam, or performing in a show. So it’s not just sitting at a computer watching other people doing things, they are doing something for themselves. It also gives them the freedom of self-expression and the means to communicate with an audience.

“It was a hard decision to make, to close the school. But for the past six years I’ve always had some teaching cover to back me up if I needed to go to, for instance, New York to a film festival, or to Barcelona for some dance exchange. I no longer have that, so it was partly for that reason that I made my mind up to close the school and partly because when I took a sabbatical in London last year, from September to December, I really liked living there. I loved the invigorating atmosphere, so I would like to spend more time there. I can’t do that and run the school at the same time. Neither of my daughters live here now, one lives in London and one lives in New York, so it would be nice to see them a little bit more often. I don’t work on the films all the time but when I do my work does involve some travel.

“It will be nice to have our show at the end of May and I have given the pupils the names of other teachers in the area, so it’s not as if they are going to be stranded, there are some good teachers who can carry on the work. I know that some of them will continue on and I hope that they will.”

Freedom To Go!, Ingrid’s most recent film, won several international awards since its release in 2015. It will be screened in Venice this June, and she is looking forward to being at the event. As she chatted to NewsFour, she was happily preparing to dance in a music video the following day. She also plans to perform in her next film, which is now in pre-production and she is delighted that she will be in a position to say ‘yes’ to more performance opportunities as they come up.

Recalling words frequently quoted by her good friend, Ester O’Brolchain, who danced with National Ballet, “senza passione, non si fa niente” – meaning “without passion, you achieve nothing”, a sentiment with which Ingrid wholeheartedly agrees. She says: “This is very true! I have always been passionate about my work, firstly when I worked as a translator, then teaching ballet. I still love the art form of ballet and will continue to go to class myself. I don’t know what else might happen but I will be working…”.

So, while May 2017 may mark the end of an era for the Ingrid Nachstern Ballet School, for its inspiring director it heralds the start of an exciting new chapter in her artistic life.

By Jennifer Reddin